St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

February 24



Adela, Queen Widow (PC)
Born in 1062; died 1137. In 1080, Adela, youngest daughter of William the Conqueror, married Stephen of Blois. She played a role in political affairs and generously endowed abbeys and churches (Benedictines).


Betto of Auxerre, OSB B (PC)
Died 918. The Benedictine monk Betto of Sainte-Colombe in Sens became bishop of Auxerre in 889 (Benedictines).


Blessed Ida of Hohenfels, OSB V (AC)
Died c. 1195. Ida was the wife of Eberhard, count of Spanheim and, after his death, a Benedictine nun at Bingen, Germany (Benedictines).


John Theristus, Monk (RM)
Born in Sicily; died 1129. John's Calabrian mother had been captured by the Saracens and brought to Sicily as a slave, where John was born. He contrived to escape to Calabria while still a child, and there he became a Benedictine. Theristus means 'harvester,' a reference to a miraculous harvesting supposed to have been performed by the saint (Benedictines).


Blessed Mark dei Marconi, Hierosolymite (AC)
Born in Milliarino near Mantua, Italy, in 1480; died in Mantua in 1510; cultus approved in 1906. Mark, born into a poor family, joined the Hieronymites of Blessed Peter of Pisa in the monastery of Saint Matthew of Mantua, where he spent his life (Benedictines).


Modestus of Trèves B (RM)
Died 489. Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 486 to 489, during the difficult period when the city came under Frankish rule. Saint Modestus's relics are venerated in the church of Saint Matthias in Trier (Benedictines).


Montanus, Lucius & Companions MM (RM)
Died 259. Montanus, Lucius, Julian, Victoricus, Flavian, Rhenus, and two companions were a group of African martyrs. Several of them were clergy of Saint Cyprian, who had been executed the previous year under Valerian. Their acta are thoroughly authentic: the first part of their acts- -their imprisonment--was written down by themselves, and that of their martyrdom by eyewitnesses.

After Cyprian's martyrdom, the proconsul Galerius Maximus died. Solon, the procurator, continued the persecution while awaiting the arrival of a new proconsul from Rome. The citizens of Carthage rose up against Solon's tyranny, but instead of seeking to discover the culprits, Solon vented his fury upon the Christians, knowing this would be agreeable to the idolaters.

Eight disciples of Saint Cyprian were arrested on a false charge of complicity in the revolt. After interrogation they were remanded to custody; they were kept on short rations, and suffered greatly from hunger and thirst. One of them writes:

"As soon as we were taken, we were given in custody to the officers of the quarter: when the governor's soldiers told us that we should be condemned to the flames, we prayed to God with great fervor to be delivered from that punishment and He in whose hands are the hearts of men, was pleased to grant our request. The governor altered his first intent, and ordered us into a very dark and incommodious prison, where we found the priest, Victor and some others, but we were not dismayed at the filth and darkness or the place, our faith and joy in the Holy Ghost reconciled us to our sufferings in that place, though these were such as it is not easy for words to describe; but the greater our trials, the greater is He who overcomes them in us.

"Our brother Rhenus in the mean time, had a vision, in which he saw several of the prisoners going out of prison with a lighted lamp preceding each of them, while others, that had no such lamp, stayed behind. He discerned us in this vision, and assured us that we were of the number of those who went forth with lamps. This gave us great joy; for we understood that the lamp represented Christ, the true light, and that we were to follow Him by martyrdom.

"The next day we were sent for by the governor, to be examined. It was a triumph to us to be conducted as a spectacle through the market-place and the streets, with our chains rattling. The soldiers, who knew not where the governor would hear us, dragged us from place to place, till, at length, he ordered us to be brought into his closet.

"He put several questions to us; our answers were modest, but firm: at length we were remanded to prison; here we prepared ourselves for new conflicts. The sharpest trial was that which we underwent by hunger and thirst, the governor having commanded that we should be kept without meat and drink for several days, inasmuch that water was refused us after our work: yet Flavian, the deacon, added great voluntary austerities to these hardships, often bestowing on others that little refreshment which was most sparingly allowed us at the public charge.

"God was pleased Himself to comfort us in this our extreme misery, by a vision which He vouchsafed to the priest Victor, who suffered martyrdom a few days after. 'I saw last night,' said he to us, 'an infant, whose countenance was of a wonderful brightness, enter the prison. He took us to all parts to make us go out, but there was no outlet; then he said to me, "You have still some concern at your being retained here, but be not discouraged. I am with you: carry these tidings to your companions, and let them know that they shall have a more glorious crown."

"'I asked him where heaven was; the infant replied, "Out of the world." Show it me,' says Victor. The infant answered, "Where then would be your faith?" Victor said, 'I cannot retain what you command me: tell me a sign that I may give them.' He answered, "Give them the sign of Jacob, that is, his mystical ladder, reaching to the heavens."' Soon after this vision, Victor was put to death. This vision filled us with joy.

"God gave us, the night following, another assurance of His mercy by a vision to our sister Quartillosia, a fellow-prisoner, whose husband and son had suffered death for Christ three days before, and who followed them by martyrdom a few days after. 'I saw,' says she, 'my son, who suffered; he was in the prison sitting on a vessel of water, and said to me: "God has seen your sufferings." Then entered a young man of a wonderful stature, and he said "Be of good courage, God hath remembered you."'"

The martyrs had received no nourishment the preceding day, nor had they any on the day that followed this vision; but at length Lucian, then priest, and afterwards bishop of Carthage, surmounting all obstacles, got food to be carried to them in abundance by the subdeacon, Herennian, and by Januarius, a catechumen. The acta say they brought the never-failing food, the Blessed Eucharist.

The acta continue:

"We have all one and the same spirit, which unites and cements us together in prayer, in mutual conversation, and in all our actions. These are those amiable bands which put the devil to flight, are most agreeable to God, and obtain of Him, by joint prayer, whatever they ask. These are the ties which link hearts together, and which make men the children of God. To be heirs of His kingdom we must be His children, and to be His children we must love one another. It is impossible for us to attain to the inheritance of His heavenly glory, unless we keep that union and peace with all our brethren which our heavenly Father has established among us.

"Nevertheless, this union suffered some prejudice in our troop, but the breach was soon repaired. It happened that Montanus had some words with Julian, about a person who was not of our communion, and who was got among us, (probably admitted by Julian). Montanus on this account rebuked Julian, and they, for some time afterwards, behaved towards each other with coldness, which was, as it were, a seed of discord.

"Heaven had pity on them both, and, to reunite them, admonished Montanus by a dream, which he related to us as follows: 'It appeared to me that the centurions were come to us, and that they conducted us through a long path into a spacious field, where we were met by Cyprian and Lucius. After this we came into a very luminous place, where our garments became white, and our flesh became whiter than our garments, and so wonderfully transparent, that there was nothing in our hearts but what was clearly exposed to view: but in looking into myself, I could discover some filth in my own bosom; and, meeting Lucian, I told him what I had seen, adding, that the filth I had observed within my breast denoted my coldness towards Julian. Wherefore, brethren, let us love, cherish, and promote, with all our might, peace and concord. Let us be here unanimous in imitation of what we shall be hereafter. As we hope to share in the rewards promised to the just, and to avoid the punishments wherewith the wicked are threatened: as, in the end, we desire to be and reign with Christ, let us do those things which will lead us to him and his heavenly kingdom.'"

Hitherto the martyrs wrote in prison what happened to them there: the rest was written by those persons who were present, to whom Flavian, one of the martyrs, had recommended it. Their imprisonment lasted several months, and then those in holy orders were condemned to death because the edict of Valerian condemned only bishops, presbyters, and deacons.

Because of his popularity, the false friends of Flavian maintained before the judge that he was no deacon, and, consequently, was not included within the emperor's decree. Though Flavian declared himself to be one, he was not then condemned; but the rest were adjudged to die. They walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and each of them gave exhortations to the people.

Lucius went to the place of execution in advance, being so enfeebled that he feared he could not keep up with the others; but Montanus was full of vigor and exhorted the heathen among the bystanders to repentance and the brethren to faithfulness:

"He that sacrificeth to any God but the true one, shall be utterly destroyed." He also checked the pride and wicked obstinacy of the heretics, telling then that they might discern the true church by the multitude of its martyrs. He exhorted those that had fallen not to be over hasty, but fully to accomplish their penance. He exhorted the virgins to preserve their purity, and to honor the bishops, and all the bishops to abide in concord.

When the executioner was ready to give the stroke, Montanus prayed aloud to God that Flavian who had been reprieved at the people's request, might follow them on the third day. And, to express his assurance that his prayer was heard, he ripped in half the handkerchief with which his eyes were to be covered, and asked that one part of it to be reserved for Flavian, and desired that a place might be kept for him where he was to be interred, that they might not be separated even in the grave.

Flavian, seeing his crown delayed, made it the object of his ardent desires and prayers. He continued to insist that he was a deacon, and so he was beheaded three days later (Attwater, Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Praetextatus of Rouen BM (RM)
(also known as Prix)

Died February 25, 586. Saint Prix was chosen archbishop of Rouen in 549, and in 557 he assisted at the third council of Paris, which was held to abolish incestuous marriages and remove other abuses. He also attended the second council of Tours in 566.

King Clotaire I, divided his kingdom among his four sons-- Chilperic's share was that of Soissons, France. He married Galsvinda, but after her death married his mistress, Fredegonda, who was strongly suspected of poisoning her predecessor. (If you like soap operas, be sure to read a complete history of Clotaire's little family--intrigue, murder, incest--any vice you can think of was fair game.) Fredegonda then arranged the assassination of Chilperic's brother King Sigebert in 575, Saint Prix incurred the wrath of Fredegonda by zealously reproving her injustices and cruelties.

Chilperic threw Brunhilda (Brunehault), sister of his poisoned wife and wife of Sigebert, into prison at Rouen. She appealed for help to Meroveus, Chilperic's son by his first wife. Meroveus dreaded the wrath Fredegonda and was unwilling to plead her cause with his father. But he fell in love with his aunt and wanted to marry her.

In the events that followed, Saint Prix was induced to witness the marriage of Brunhilda and her blood nephew (and Saint Prix' godson) to prevent further scandal, and was accused of high treason by Chilperic for doing this and for supposedly fomenting a rebellion by giving aid to the prince. His actions were strongly defended by Saint Gregory of Tours before a council at Paris in 577. Prix was condemned by the council and banished to a small island near Coutances.

His sufferings there further sanctified his soul by penance and the exercise of all heroic Christian virtues. Slander by his enemies cost him many friends, but Saint Gregory remained a staunch ally.

Fredegonda arranged the assassination of her stepsons Meroveus and Clovis, and was suspected of contriving her husband's death also to clear the way to the throne for her own son, Clotaire II. After a six-year exile, Prix was restored to his see by King Gontran of Orléans after the death of Chilperic.

In 585, Saint Prix participated in the framing of canons at the council of Mâcon. He continued his pastoral labors and, in vain, often endeavored to bring Queen Fredegonda, who resided in Rouen, to repentance. Fredegonda grew increasingly more wicked. In 586, she said to him, "The time is coming when you shall revisit the place of your exile." Saint Prix responded, "I was bishop always, whether in exile or out of exile, and a bishop I shall remain; but you will not always enjoy your crown."

By her order, Saint Prix was assassinated (stabbed under his armpit) while praying Matins in his church in the midst of his clergy on Sunday, February 25, or according to other sources on Easter Sunday (April 14). Saint Prix is honored in the Roman and Gallician Martyrologies (Benedictines, Husenbeth, Walsh).


Primitiva M (RM)
Date unknown. An early martyr, probably of Rome, Saint Primitiva is sometimes listed in the old martyrologies as Primitivus (Benedictines).


Blessed Robert of Arbrissel, OSB Abbot (PC)
(also known as Robert of Arbressec)

Born in Arbrissel (Arbressec), Brittany, France, c. 1047; died at Orsan on February 25, 1117. Robert studied at Paris, became chancellor of the University of Paris, was ordained, and then became archpriest (vicar general) at Rennes c. 1089 at the invitation of Bishop Sylvester of Gerche, who invited him to assist him in reforming that see.

Robert was forced to flee the enemies he made with his reforms when the bishop died, and he became a hermit in the Craon Forest in 1095. The following year he founded the monastery of La Roe for the many disciples he had attracted by his holiness. He was appointed 'preacher' by Pope Urban II the same year, attracted huge crowds, and in 1099 founded the double Benedictine monastery of Fontevrault under the direction of an abbess for the many postulants La Roe could not accommodate.

He attended the Council of Poitiers in 1100, where he favored the excommunication of King Philip I of France, and the Council of Nantes in 1110. Robert called a chapter to establish a permanent organization of his monks in 1116, and died the following year at Orsan. He has never been formally beatified (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Roeder).

Blessed Robert is generally painted as a Benedictine abbot enjoying a vision of the crucified Christ, Virgin Mary, and Saint John. At times he may be shown wearing a coat of mail next to his skin (Roeder). He is venerated in Fontevrault, Paris, and Rennes (Roeder).


Sergius of Cappadocia M (RM)
Died 304. Saint Sergius was a magistrate of Caesarea. He became a monk, perhaps a priest, in Cappadocia, confessed his faith publicly and sacrificed himself for it during the reign of Diocletian. His relics are said to have been translated to Ubeda, near Tarragon, in Spain (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).



About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.